Clayton Christensen – Leading the Next Big Internet Revolution

Online education is revolutionizing the way we perceive education. Students can access the classroom and the lecture anytime during the day from the convenience of their home or office. Working professionals can acquire a college degree or a new skill without altering their work schedule. High quality education is no longer limited to the students and alumni of few top ranking universities.

Apart from 2,500 colleges and universities that offer online degree and credential programs to students for a fee, web-based, open source portals created by faculty members, experts and policymakers from top institutions and universities across the globe are gaining immense popularity. These short-term courses allow students to learn from top MIT, Stanford, Penn State, Georgia Tech and other university professors for free. Although you do not get any credentials or degrees at the end of the program, you will acquire knowledge that will be beyond compare. Some faculty members also offer valuable completion certifications. Many educators such as Clayton M. Christensen have played a crucial role in creating this new model for education.

Christensen graduated with an honors degree in economics from Brigham Young University in 1975. He completed his M. Phil from Oxford University and his Doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard Business School with highest distinction. He has been a Rhodes Scholar and George F. Baker Scholar. He joined as a faculty member at Harvard Business School in 1992, and is currently the Professor of Business Administration at the University. He has written several books, and co-founded Innosight, a management consulting and investment firm. Christensen’s biggest contribution to the world of business administration is the Disruption Theory, which explains how cheap and innovative products can bring down big corporations.

Applying the same theory to the field of online education, Christensen believes that free, online education websites such as Khan Academy, Udacity and Coursera will disrupt the business of online and campus-based education. These small startups have altered our perception, and helped people differentiate between credential-based degree programs and simple, learning courses. Many educators and supporters of the online, open courseware believe that acquiring knowledge and learning new skills is a lifelong process. However, the college and university system moved people away from it, and education was limited to a period between birth and college graduation.

Christensen, however, believes that the online classrooms can serve students better than the traditional classrooms. His new book: Disruptive Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way World Learns focuses extensively on the role of internet in education. He believes that:

  • By 2019, half of K-12 classes will be taught online.
  • Schools will become student-centric, and education can be customized according to the child.
  • Teachers will find online education liberating. They can focus on tutoring the child instead of preparing for the lecture.
  • Students will also have access to lectures from best teachers and faculty members across the globe.

Christensen’s new theory and proposals are revolutionizing the way common people and entrepreneurs are visualizing online education. His endorsement is creating new opportunities as we speak.